Clint Dempsey may be one of the most highly rated and recognizable faces of U.S. soccer but that hasn't stopped the organization throwing the book at him this week.
Dempsey hit the headlines nine days ago when he reacted furiously to a red card handed out to a teammate in the Seattle Sounders' US Open Cup defeat to the Portland Timbers. In a fit of rage he ripped up the referees notebook before sarcastically applauding the assistant official following his own dismissal.
And now the USMNT captain has been made to pay for his petulance after it was revealed his punishment could be set to last well into 2017.
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As reported by the BBC, Clint Dempsey has been banned from competing in the U.S. Open Cup for a minimum of two years.
The details of the punishment mean Dempsey can return to action in the cop competition after sitting out six games, but only if the two year period has passed.
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With Major League Soccer also handing down a three game suspension (effective immediately) earlier this week, and the United States Soccer Federation throwing in a fine for good measure, the veteran attacker is likely regretting taking matters into his own hands last week.
Dempsey has opted against appealing the ban but did take to Twitter today in way of an apology:
One thing that could work in Dempsey's favor moving forward is the recent success the Seattle Sounders have had in the U.S. Open Cup.
The MLS team have appeared in five out of the last six finals, winning four including the 2014 competition, and, if they can keep that sort of cup form going, Dempsey could be back in the minimum time frame.
With Clint Dempsey's fit of rage having accompanied their exit from the 2015 incarnation, however, that six game absence won't get going until 2016.
Bad week all round
More urgently perhaps the Sounders must find a way to stem the tide after a tough week all round.
The franchise actually ended the game in which Dempsey was sent off with just seven men courtesy of two further red cards and an injury to Obafemi Martins, and have tasted defeat in their two MLS fixtures since.
With injuries and off-the-field controversies threatening to overshadow their 2015 campaign the Washington franchise will do well to focus their attention on the field from here on out.
Soccer fans: Is two years to excessive, or does Clint Dempsey deserve his punishment? Have your say in the comments below...
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